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Play now 45 mins

The influence of Fashion on what we wear

45 minutes
First broadcast:
Saturday 18 February 2012

As the catwalk models parade exotic and stylish new creations for London Fashion week, we ask if the current economic crisis and globalisation now hold more sway on what we wear than what is in fashion?

Anthropologist Daniel Miller on the rise and rise of blue jeans which he says are so popular because they stand apart from fashion and allow the wearer to assimilate and feel like they are a citizen of the world.

Fashion curator Sonnet Stanfill on the impact of economics on high end expensive clothing like ball gowns.

And one of Nigeria's top fashion designers, Folake Folarin-Coker reveals how she has created an iconic African fashion brand which is at once globally friendly and affordable.

Illustration by Emily Kasriel


4 items
  • Daniel Miller

    Daniel Miller

    Daniel Miller is an anthropologist in material culture at University College London. His work focuses on our relationship to things and the consequences of consumption. His latest research is on a piece of clothing worn by so many of us worldwide – blue jeans. He argues that jeans are unique in that they are global and never go out of fashion, allowing the wearer to assimilate, no matter what country or social class they are from.

  • Sonnet Stanfill

    Sonnet Stanfill

    Sonnet Stanfill is an American fashion writer, as well as curator at the Victoria and Albert museum in London. Her latest exhibition focuses on the spectacular and lavish ball gowns worn by the rich and famous in post war Britain. She argues that this high end expensive clothing has always conferred on the wearer a great deal of power, but with the latest economic austerity, what is the future for these type of clothes?

  • Folake Folarin-Coker

    Folake Folarin-Coker

    Award winning designer, Folake Folarin-Coker is founder of the iconic African fashion brand Tiffany Amber. Launched more than a decade ago, it revolutionised the fashion industry in Nigeria, and became the first indigenous ready to wear label in the country. On an international level, Folake is the only African designer to have shown twice at the New York Fashion show.

    Photo credit: Getty Images/ Stephen Lovekin

  • In Next Week’s Programme

    Europe in Turmoil. What does the future hold for the idea of a European community, and should we be concerned at the way economic logic has instigated a reorganization of power in Europe.

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    Daniel Miller suggests creating a new ethical label – a big E to be sewn on garments – to show that a particular piece of clothing has been produced environmentally and ethically, with no exploitation of labour. Daniel Miller believes that people who have paid extra for ethically produced clothes would be quite happy for others to know this, and that by flaunting the E label on their garments they would then communicate an important message to all producers and consumers: I’m ethical and I’m proud of it.



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